Miniprojects of isolation: The Yellow Wallpaper

September 25, 2015

Extract from the short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

 

(...)

Then I peeled off all the paper I could reach standing on the floor. It sticks horribly and the pattern just enjoys it! All those strangled heads and bulbous eyes and waddling fungus growths just shriek with derision!

 

I am getting angry enough to do something desperate. To jump out of the window would be admirable exercise, but the bars are too strong even to try.

 

Besides I wouldn't do it. Of course not. I know well enough that a step like that is improper and might be misconstrued.

 

I don't like to LOOK out of the windows even—there are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast.

 

I wonder if they all come out of that wall-paper as I did?

 

But I am securely fastened now by my well-hidden rope—you don't get ME out in the road there!

I suppose I shall have to get back behind the pattern when it comes night, and that is hard!

It is so pleasant to be out in this great room and creep around as I please!

 

I don't want to go outside. I won't, even if Jennie asks me to.

 

For outside you have to creep on the ground, and everything is green instead of yellow.

 

But here I can creep smoothly on the floor, and my shoulder just fits in that long smooch around the wall, so I cannot lose my way.

 

Why there's John at the door!

 

It is no use, young man, you can't open it!

 

How he does call and pound!

 

Now he's crying for an axe.

 

It would be a shame to break down that beautiful door!

 

"John dear!" said I in the gentlest voice, "the key is down by the front steps, under a plantain leaf!"

That silenced him for a few moments.

 

Then he said—very quietly indeed, "Open the door, my darling!"

 

"I can't," said I. "The key is down by the front door under a plantain leaf!"

 

And then I said it again, several times, very gently and slowly, and said it so often that he had to go and see, and he got it of course, and came in. He stopped short by the door.

 

"What is the matter?" he cried. "For God's sake, what are you doing!"

 

I kept on creeping just the same, but I looked at him over my shoulder.

 

"I've got out at last," said I, "in spite of you and Jane. And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!"

 

Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time!

 

 

 

 

 

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